Silverware, or flatware?

IMG_20150103_172451138I don’t have a home and hearth “lifestyle” site like my bloggin’ buddy, Lindsey.  Case in point: I grew up calling all eating utensils “silverware, yet I somehow doubt that we ate off of silver.  I have since learned the differentiations between silverware, stainless, and simply flatware.  Now, Lindsey might be able to tell you more precisely what those are are (and how to use them correctly!)  One thing I have learned, however, (Lindsey, dear, please correct me if I’m wrong), is that the more you use silver, the less you have to keep it polished.  Otherwise, just stuffing it away for special occasions means you had better budget a fair amount of time in the preparation of the event for the wearisome task of polishing, cleaning, and wiping. 

For someone who rarely gets around to dusting my furniture, no thanks.

Not that I would allow my granddaughter to dig in the dirt with the silver serving spoon I got as a wedding gift lo, these many years ago, but why stuff that little treasure away just for dipping out the mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving?

So I wonder how much I fall prey to that attitude in other areas of my life; that is, putting something away for “safe keeping”, afraid it might get broken, stolen, or at the very least misused or disregarded, instead of using it for Continue reading “Silverware, or flatware?”

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Some assembly required

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280I’m saving for a new kitchen.  They say the first rooms of any old house that should be remodeled are the bathrooms and the kitchen; okay, now that we’re 25-years into this already old house, it’s probably time.  So I’m saving my dollars as I am hoping for a visit from the contractor in the months to come.  (Bob, honey, take note.)

This past Christmas, our oldest granddaughter received a “new kitchen” from her father’s parents.  I have rarely seen such an elaborate and beautiful play thing, and I’m thinking of writing them to request they send me one, only on a bigger adult scale!  It’s magnificent! 

The challenge is that it Continue reading “Some assembly required”

PUSH to enter

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Assertiveness has never been one of my innate qualities.  I don’t remember ever getting a spanking in my life, not necessarily because my parents were liberal-minded types against any form of corporate discipline; it may be more like you could look at me and make me cringe in fear.  (I’ve improved with age, but not too much.) ziggy

So when I read the story of Caleb’s daughter, Acsah, I’m a bit intrigued.  Caleb was on Joshua’s side when Moses originally sent in the crew to check out the Promised Land.  Ten of the fellas came back with their tails tucked between their legs, intimidated by the people’s size and strength.  Caleb and Joshua, on the other hand, were ready to go in with both barrels blazing. 

Now, several decades down Continue reading “PUSH to enter”

I love my dirt

garden lastMy birthday is smack-dab (great vocabulary word, BTW) in the middle of Spring.  This past year, I asked for one thing.  Just one. 

Dirt. 

And lots of it.  I have been working on putting a new garden in, and since we live within the city limits, it’s not like on one of the nearby farms where you have dirt to spare (as well as other biologicals that enhance the soil, if you get my drift…) And to boot, the dirt in my yard is not particularly conducive to growing vegetables and such, which calls for a little more intentionality and strategy when putting in a garden, at least if I have high hopes of producing nutritious edibles. 

I let my desire be known to my husband and progeny.  I even held off buying dirt, hoping that the truck from one of our local home and garden stores was going to show up with bags and bags, but alas, it was not to be.  Bob did not consider “dirt” to be an appropriate birthday gift for his wife since, to him, it smacked of “work”….(sigh).

So I bought myself a gift—dirt.  Yes, I did.  Twenty 2-cubic-foot bags, in fact.  (That’ll teach ‘im, right?? Nah, probably not.)  And when it’s delivered, either from the store or

dirt
Happy birthday to me!!

in my old suburban, I hadn’t decided which yet, I would empty most or all of it into the new garden plot and “start to begin to commence” planting.

At least, that was the plan.

Of course, there are lots of other things that can be done with dirt.  Like playing in it, building mud pies and such.  It’s a bit messier than a sandbox, but quite do-able.  Naturally, cats and dogs find dirt most helpful also (as with sandboxes).  Worms also appreciate the dirt, which in turn makes the robins appreciate it also.

But that’s not why I’m spending a pretty penny (several thousand pennies, truth be known), on good soil.  The purpose of this birthday gift to myself is to grow things!

So why do we do we tend to have a similarly skewed attitude with the gifts that God gives us?

So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church.”

Just a thought: whether it’s a bags of dirt, a new trowel or shovel, or fresh gloves, you don’t buy them to admire them, but to USE them for their intended purpose—to grow and produce, not to play around making a mess to simply get dirty. 

Although I certainly do enough of that in the process….

The wonderful gifts God gives us—relationships, talents, time, health, experiences, forgiveness, supernatural or natural—all are for the building and nourishing of His church.  Or as Bob likes to say, they’re tools, not toys.

So just a thought: what kind of steward are you with God’s gifts?  Best not to get your hands dirty unless you plan on getting some work done.

1 Corinthians 14:12 New American Standard Bible (NASB)  Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

Zinnias, and other gifts

garden lastHere’s another status report on the new garden.  Writing this in June, during a hot/dry spell here in southern MO, but with my watering (and Bob’s sweet patience with the water bill…at least so far), color is exploding round about. 

Now, my sister-in-law, Bu, is quite the avid landscaper.  She advised that I start cutting these beauties so that more would continue to pop up throughout the season.  She’s usually right about this sort of thing, so I have trustingly clipped a few of my prizes to enjoy indoors and await a new crop as they come.

zenniacut

Pretty cool, huh?

It’s actually quite good for me, since I have more of a tendency to hoard things, you know, “make them last”.  Like books that set on the shelf, not imparting any knowledge, just collecting dust.  Or unused hanging planters, nurturing spiders’ nests in the garage instead of flowers on my patio.  Things you save “for a rainy day.”

I’m thinking we tend to do that with other gifts also.  Like health, and money, and talent, and those things we think we might make use of when retired, or on vacation, or….just later. 

Jesus said something about “burying it in the ground” rather than investing it wisely for a future return.

Not that timing isn’t important; clearly providing food on the table for the family is a more imminent need than being in a rock band (unless that’s what puts food on the table.)  Relationships take precedence over personal pursuits, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are mutually exclusive 100% of the time. 

Here’s the point: 

“Send your grain across the seas,
    and in time, profits will flow back to you.”

And just for kicks, here’s the footnote for this particular translation:

Give generously, / for your gifts will return to you later. Hebrew reads Throw your bread on the waters, / for after many days you will find it again.”

Generosity is one of those hallmarks of Christianity, and it’s not merely money. Believe it or not, sometimes greenbacks can be the easiest thing to give!  Time and talent, gifts—both spiritual and otherwise—(and even making the effort to inventory what I have in my own storehouse), is incredibly important, because it’s not about “just me and mine”.  It’s about what the Creator, my Creator, has put inside of me to cast out there to bless and benefit others.

Right.  So some neighbors might wake up to find bouquets of zinnia blossoms on their front doorsteps in a few days….

Ecclesiastes 11:1 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Temperature’s rising…it’s the flu.

IMG_20150103_172451138flumap

This is the time of year, in my job as a school nurse, that I like to see where we are with the annual spread of the influenza.  Missouri has just recently been upgraded to “local” instead of “sporadic”, which is not bad considering it’s February (at this writing).

Understand, this is just about the true flu, not the stomach flu, not strep throat, not “just a cold”.  This is the one, if you’re smart (in my not-so-humble opinion), you get a vaccine for, especially if you work every day among all those walking petri dishes known as school children.

I once had a middle schooler tell me that it was okay with him if he got the flu, presumably so that he could stay home from school. 

Yet another evidence that the prepubescent frontal lobe is not yet fully formed.

The influenza is bad, like, r-e-a-l-l-y bad.  High fever, cough, aches, you feel like you’re gonna die, and sometimes wish you could.  And in fact, people still do, die that is, from the true flu.  So, despite what my sweet middle schoolers might think, I’m quite pleased about “The Map” for this time of year where I live.

I can only imagine and try to appreciate what was happening to Simon Peter’s wife with her mother being so very ill (and probably highly contagious) when Jesus came for a visit. 

“Now Simon’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever. They told Jesus about her right away. So he went to her bedside, took her by the hand, and helped her sit up. Then the fever left her, and she prepared a meal for them.”

Right.  No “don’t worry, Mom, we’ll just have leftovers, you go and rest.” No “here, Mom, let us take care of the dishes, you put your feet up.” I am fascinated by the woman’s response.  There seemingly was no sense of victimhood entitlement, no pity party, not even an inkling of self indulgence.  What was her response to this healing (or we could fill in “deliverance, provision” or any number of God’s other good, good gifts to us)?

Service.  Paying it forward by serving others was her way of paying it back to the One who cared for her the most.  Instead, we often find (including in ourselves, the church) an unhealthy sense of ownership, of what I feel is “due” me for all the hardship I’ve endured.  Or there’s the temptation to hoard my good fortune (truly a misnomer) for fear of losing it again. 

I don’t think Jesus was terribly concerned about where or what He was going to eat that evening.  But I do think He was interested in what that dear woman would do with the gift He had just handed to her.

We are blessed so that we can serve.  And serving is contagious also, but for a Christian, there is no vaccine.

Mark 1:30, 31   Tyndale House Publishers Inc (2008-06-01). The One Year Bible NLT (One Year Bible: Nlt Book 2) (Kindle Locations 5792-5794). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.